un·​der·​world | \ ˈən-dər-ˌwərld \

Definition of underworld

1 : the place of departed souls : hades
2 archaic : earth
3 : the side of the earth opposite to one : antipodes
4 : a social sphere below the level of ordinary life the town's seedy underworld especially : the world of organized crime

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Examples of underworld in a Sentence

a magazine article taking an insightful look at the underworld inhabited by street people

Recent Examples on the Web

Still, the pacing is brisk and Raza's perilous journey into the London underworld, infiltrating a gang of Albanian bad guys, draws you in. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Three New Crime Shows To Get Hooked on Now," 12 Jan. 2019 Shepherd Book knows more about the criminal underworld than a preacher should, the mercenary Jayne Cobb is trigger-happy, and the crew’s constant bad luck lands them further and further into debt with criminals. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Big Damn Hero is a familiar trip back to Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe," 20 Nov. 2018 In the months ahead, InSight will begin its study of the Martian underworld, with the aim of helping scientists understand how the planet formed, lessons that could help also shed light on Earth’s origins. Paul Roberts, The Seattle Times, "Mars landing is a nail-biter for Redmond rocket engineers," 26 Nov. 2018 Unfortunately for him, his brother also unwittingly pocketed something extremely valuable to the king of the near-future L.A. underworld that the Artemis services, turning a sanctuary into a target on one of the worst nights in history. Joshua Rivera, GQ, "Hotel Artemis Is a Mean, Messy Action Movie You Need to See," 8 June 2018 At the same time, the word started to develop more colorful, metaphorical uses, especially in the New York City criminal underworld. Ben Zimmer, WSJ, "The Evolution of ‘Kingpin,’ From Lawn Bowling to Drug Trafficking," 9 Nov. 2018 As Venus begins its long journey through Scorpio’s underworld, this intimately intense snake charmer takes us even further into the medicine of blessing our impulses, and surrendering to the larger, romantic rhythms that mirror nature itself. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes September 2018," 1 Sep. 2018 Between 1850 and 1941 an entire subterranean underworld lurked beneath this town, where people lived and died in a complex series of catacombs known as the Shanghai Tunnels. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities In America and Why You Should Visit," 18 Oct. 2018 Still, the police and experts on the drug underworld here say a dismantling of the Clan—or any other group—will mean the emergence of offshoots, a phenomenon that bedevils law enforcement from here to Mexico. Juan Forero, WSJ, "Where Colombian Rebels Once Ruled, Drug Gangs Now Fight for Control," 16 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underworld.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of underworld

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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The first known use of underworld was in 1598

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English Language Learners Definition of underworld

: the world of crime and criminals

the underworld : the place where dead people go in Greek myths


un·​der·​world | \ ˈən-dər-ˌwərld \

Kids Definition of underworld

: the world of crime

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More from Merriam-Webster on underworld

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with underworld

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for underworld

Spanish Central: Translation of underworld

Nglish: Translation of underworld for Spanish Speakers

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to settle judicially or to act as judge

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